To come to the topic of God and justice, we first must define who God is– what is His standing. I know that this will be philosophical and theological, but hang with me, because it’s important that we think through these things.
Who does God claim that He is? Of the many things, one that stands out as important to our discussion is that He claims to be the Creator of all that is. In Genesis 1:1 we read that God created the Heavens and the Earth– He spoke them into existence.
God Being Creator Means that God is the Owner
If the girl above takes a picture– who owns it? She does.
If she chooses to delete the picture that she put on the camera, is it within her rights? Yes, because she is the creator and owner of the picture.
If she chooses to print out the picture and light it on fire, is she within her rights to do so? Yes, because she is the creator and the owner of the picture.
Just as the girl above owns any pictures that she would create, God is the owner of all of His creation, and is therefore just in anything He would do with His creation. This includes destroying His creation.
God is Not Just, He is Justice
There is a subtle but important difference here. If God were just, it would imply that there are laws outside of God that God must abide by. (This is the key to the whole “could God create a rock so big that He could not lift it?) God is justice– everything He does is just because of the nature of who He is.
Therefore, it is impossible for God to be brought to trial and to be subject to some higher law, because He is the highest law. He is the yardstick against all is measured.
God is Not Guilty of Criminal Negligence
Steve made the following argument on a previous post:
[I]f you or I did what the supposed God of the universe was alleged to have done and with his foreknowledge and knew that man would sin and let him do that and create an eternal train wreck when we could have reasonable stopped it, we would be charged with criminal negligence. Then I can only conclude, the Judeo/Christian God is guilty of Criminal negligence…
First, Steve neglects to take into account the Ownership of God– an owner has the right to do whatever He wants with His property.
Second, Steve implies that justice is outside of God– that God should be held to a standard. So, he creates his own strawman and then defeats it to try to deflate believers.
What do I mean? He created a god that didn’t fulfil the qualities of God– a god that is not owner and therefore is subject to a law outside of himself. This is anyone but the Christian God, but I can see why this argument is thrown out there to try to make Christians look bad.
So, Why Would God Create Beings Who Would Sin and Then Punish Them?
Asking a why question about God is always tricky, but I’ll do my best. God created all beings, and He wanted to create beings that would love Him for who He was.
It’s interesting that I was reading just the other day that some scientists are expecting us to create robots that people will eventually marry. If you could create a robot that did exactly what you wanted it to, would it truly love you? Yes, it would do the things that you wanted it to do, but it would not choose to love you– that’s a far greater love.
God chose to create beings that would have to choose to love Him– and He gave them the choice. Yes, He knew that they would sin, and that there would be a penalty for it. But He also made a way of escape– a way of love. He would have been just to let everyone burn. He would have been just to put any particular salvation criteria He wanted. Instead, He chose belief, faith, and love.
That’s the amazing God I serve– one that looked at my sinful state by my my own choice, and chose to love me anyway.